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Cherchez la femme: women and values in the Francophone world

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Abstract

Throughout history, the most fundamental values at the basis of societal organization and culture were determined and sanctified almost exclusively by men—including the values traditionally associated with women, such as corporeal beauty, purity, motherhood, or empathy. However, from ancient times, and increasingly toward the end of the second millennium, women have succeeded in finding ways to overcome such limits and have made their contributions to the revision of values and to the establishment of new ones.

Cherchez la femme offers a selection of essays inquiring into the nature of aesthetic, linguistic, cultural, and social values created, informed, or reformed by women in the French-speaking world, as well as studies on how the discourse of (male) power used female figures to strengthen its own position. With topics ranging in time from Semiramis’s ancient legend to today, and in space from Québec to Haiti, metropolitan France, and New Caledonia, the volume shares the richness and fruitfulness of the female perspective in art, culture, theory, and political action.